‘Eat healthy and you will be healthy!’ We hear from everywhere. Definitely easier said than done!
Humans are stubborn! It is very hard for us to change our behavior when the effect of our current behavior is not immediate. Even more so, when that specific behavior provides us with an immediate reward.
When we eat, we get the short-term reward of satisfying our hunger or sweet tooth and in long term, our daily food choices determine our health status. All cells in the body are made up of broken down nutrient components and therefore everything we eat, eventually becomes part of the body.
Experts suggest that as much as 80% depends on the diet while acquiring for a healthy body. The remaining 20% is split between genetics and regular exercise.
Now that we covered how important a healthy diet is, let’s talk about what a healthy diet looks like.
First of all, there is no one specific diet which will work for all people, simply because of the large variety of populations. The amount of food needed depends on gender, body proportions, age, and energy expenditure. People have food allergies, sensitivities and preferences.
A healthy diet is one that provides adequate energy, nutrients in order to maintain good physical and mental health over prolonged period of time.
A healthy diet is not a crash diet, a fad diet or a diet restrictive in any way.
- A balanced diet which contains all food groups is the key. Aim for variety in your meals and incorporate many colors, shapes, and textures of foods.
- Learn about the basics of nutrition to help you understand the importance of macro and micronutrients. This will help you with your daily food choices and will be beneficial to your health in the long run.
- Choose quality over quantity and aim to consume foods that do not come in a package or a box. Those foods tend to be processed in a way, where chemicals, colorings, preservatives, sugar, and sodium are added to the food in order to make it shelf stable and more appealing.
- A healthy diet is sustainable and maintainable for years, not only for a few days or weeks. Diet, which excludes food groups, macronutrients or is too low o calories can have detrimental effects on metabolic rate, energy, and hormone levels, which can lead to weight gain or in some cases to disease.
- Do not skip meals. Inconsistent meals put the body into starvation mode which leads to increased fat storage in order to provide energy for the time of famine. Meal consistency is linked to maintaining a high metabolic rate and a healthy body weight.
- Practice mindfulness around food and stay connected to your basic human instincts. Learn to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Listen to your body, how it reacts to certain foods, meal frequencies, and portion sizes.
There is no cookie cutter diet which will be good for everyone. You are free to experiment and make it your own!
Reflect on your current diet by honestly answering following questions for your own benefit
- Do you consider your diet healthy?
- Is your diet Balanced?
- Are you able to sustain your diet for longer than 30 days?
- Do you eat good quality food?
- Does your diet provide sufficient amounts of Carbs, Protein and Fat?
- Do you understand what they are?
- Are you Mindful around food?
- Do you get satisfied every time you eat?
Let’s be honest, why do you usually start eating?
How would you want to change your eating habits?
In our next #HeartSmart blog, we will be discussing Carbohydrates, what they are, what types of them there are and why they are important